Our Team

Speak with the M&A experts at Sports Club Advisors

We Make Buying or Selling a Fitness Related Business Simple, Confidential, and Easy

Rich Jackim and Jim Bates founded Sports Club Advisors to create a market for small, medium and large health clubs, fitness studios, sports clubs and other fitness and leisure businesses.

Over the last 15 years, Rich and Jim have helped over 60 clients realize over $400 million in personal wealth.  We specialize in representing high-end tennis, fitness and sports clubs and other businesses focused on the leisure and healthy lifestyle segment.

We have a database with over 2,000 registered buyers who get notices of each new client we bring to market.  As a result, our closing rate is over 90%; significantly higher than most M&A firms.

Once you become a client, Rich or Jim will work with you, side-by-side, throughout the entire process, right up to a successful closing.

Strategic Partnership with

TIA Logo 2150x1142

Sports Club Advisors is proud to partner with the
Tennis Industry Association
to help tennis club owners achieve their
personal, business and financial goals

Find out why 80% of Sports Club Advisors' clients sell within 180 days.

Rich Jackim

Rich Jackim

Direct: (224) 513-5142
Cell: (847) 682-4997

Specialty Practice Areas

  • Fitness clubs & gyms
  • Boutique fitness studios
  • Sports clubs
  • Sports & social leagues
  • Health & fitness centers
  • Youth sports training programs and camps
  • Fitness equipment manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers
  • Club management software developers
  • Fitness & exercise app developers
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Franchisees and franchisors

Rich Jackim is a partner and co-founder of Sports Club Advisors.  Rich is an experienced investment banker, a former Wall Street attorney, and a successful sports and fitness entrepreneur.

Rich is an expert in the field of mergers and acquisitions of small, medium and large companies. During his 20 year investment banking career Rich has been involved in over 60 mergers or acquisitions with a combined market value of over $1 billion.

After law school, Rich began his career practicing mergers and acquisitions law in New York with White & Case. He later attended The Kellogg Graduate School of Management where he earned his MBA in corporate finance and marketing.

$10 Trillion Opportunity by Rich JackimAfter graduating from Kellogg, Rich worked as an investment banker for Prudential Capital, one of the investment units of The Prudential Insurance Company.  While at Prudential he was part of a team that provided the capital to build several prominent sports facilities including The Allen Center (now the Moda Center) in Portland, Oregon, the Spectrum Center (now the Wells Fargo Center) in Philadelphia, and the United Center in Chicago.

Rich was then recruited to become President of a nationally recognized middle market mergers & acquisitions firm with 14 offices around the country. After almost seven years growing that company, Rich left to co-found an M&A firm that was quickly recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the Top Investment Banking firms in Chicago.

Rich is also the co-founder of the Exit Planning Institute, the leading provider of education, training and resources for business advisors committed to the field of exit planning.
Rich is the author of the critically acclaimed book, The $10 Trillion Opportunity: Designing Successful Exit Strategies for Middle Market Business Owners. He has been quoted in or written articles for Business Week, The Chicago Tribune, The Counselor, The Business Ledger, Injection Molding Magazine, Bulk Transport, The Indianapolis Business Journal, Transport Topics and other regional and national publications.

Rich, his wife, and two children, live just north of Chicago.

Jim Bates

Jim Bates

Direct: (847) 404-4566

Specialty Practice Areas

  • Tennis clubs
  • Tennis equipment manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers
  • Club management companies
  • Coaching equipment, training, and aids
  • Personal training companies
  • Club management software
  • Racquet clubs
  • Youth sports training programs and camps

Jim is a partner and co-founder of Sports Club Advisors. He is an experienced M&A advisor, a successful sports and fitness professional, a successful entrepreneur, and a published author.  Jim works with buyers and sellers of fitness and athletic clubs, and provides valuation, operational and value enhancement consulting services nationwide.

Business Valuation for DummiesJim has over 30 years of tennis and fitness club experience. He started playing in competitive tennis at the age of 9 and went on to play tennis at Western Illinois University where he was a four-year standout and earned team MVP and all-conference accolades.

After college Jim began his professional career as a tennis pro working at a number of premier tennis and fitness clubs before returning to Western Illinois University to earn his MBA and to serve as assistant coach of the men’s and women’s tennis teams.

Post graduate school, Jim has spent the last 15 years in the investment banking industry while at the same time remaining actively involved in tennis.  He has been involved in over a dozen transactions with an estimated market value of over $50 million.  In addition, he co-authored Business Valuation for Dummies (Wiley & Sons Publishing – 2009).

Jim holds three certifications from the Professional Tennis Registry (Adult Development, 11-17, and High Performance); and, he is a regular speaker at Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) and Tennis Industry Association (TIA) conferences and events.  In 2012, Jim was named PTR Pro of the Year for the state of Illinois.  He is also on the National Advisory WTeam of Wilson Racquet Sports.

He and his wife live in Chicago.

Blade Woods

Blake Woods
Director, Business Development

Direct: 224-678-9779

Blake Woods is a Vice President,  at Sports club Advisors. He is a lifelong athlete and has played competitive tennis since the age of 14. He was the first player at his high school to qualify twice for the IL Boys State Tennis Tournament. He had the opportunity to play Division I NCAA tennis, but chose to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach Florida, which did not have varsity sports at that time. He was a Tennis Pro at the John Gardner Tennis Resort, in Keystone Colorado and continues to play USTA tournaments. He is also an avid snow skier and committed to lifelong physical fitness.

Blake has over 25 years of experience in mergers & acquisitions, consultative sales, business operations, and C-Level networking initiatives in B2B environments. He has numerous contacts in the tennis and sports club industry and is perfectly positioned to advise owners and operators in that sector with their exit plan, and desire to grow their business by acquiring additional sports clubs.

Before joining sports Club Advisors, Blake spent three years at MidCap Advisors, a middle-market mergers & acquisitions and investment banking firm, based in New York.  Prior to MidCap, he spent 9 years selling high end residential and commercial real estate, where he won numerous awards and industry recognition. Prior to that, he was the Marketing Director at The Presidents Forum, an exclusive peer group for Presidents and CEOs of middle-market companies. In this role, Blake was responsible for doubling the size of that organization and arranging monthly council meetings, seminars and informal advisory boards focusing on cutting edge topics and improving the leadership skills of Presidents & CEOs and performance of their companies. Blake has also held management positions in the financial and securities industry, and earned his undergraduate degree, a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Science and an MBA, at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Blake is a licensed commercial pilot, with instrument and multi-engine ratings, and is also a licensed real estate broker in the state of Illinois. He, his wife, and son reside in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago.

Tim Johnston

Tim Johnston
Director, Business Development


Tim Johnston is the newest member of the Sports Club Advisors’ team.  Tim brings 15 years of experience in sales and marketing to Sports Club Advisors and helps with business development and transaction execution.

Prior to joining Sports Club Advisors, Tim spent many years running the Illinois office for one of the largest independent medical evaluation companies in the Midwest.  With his no-nonsense style, Tim was able to grow and expand the company’s clientele, building trust and confidence with it’s customers across the country.  Tim was the top salesperson in the Midwest region for 5 years.

Tim also has extensive experience in the sports and fitness industry. Tim began playing competitive tennis at the age of 14.  He was a ranked junior in Texas and won his high-school district 3 out of the 4 years he competed.  Tim received a scholarship to play tennis in college.  In his spare time Tim runs a performance based youth development program  and selectively coaches young athletes.  Tim holds the USPTR designation.

Tim earned his Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Business Marketing from Bradley University.  He graduated with honors while raising four children.  Tim continues to help advise the local Tennis and Racquet Club on related business matters and membership development.  He and his family live in central Illinois.